ISLAMABAD: An IOC Olympic Solidarity Seminar on Sports Medicine and Protection of Clean Athletes concluded in federal capital here on Sunday. On the last day of the two-day event, the speakers highlighted various important fields like physiotherapy (Dr Haseeb Ullah Ammad), prevention of discrimination based on gender, social origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, etc. (Ms Veena Salman Masud), adapted training practices and injury prevention (Dr KA Pervez Rizvi) and emergency procedures in sports events (Dr Ucksy Malick). Through this seminar, the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) disseminated important facts and information for national athletes and coaches. The athletes and coaches commended the efforts of POA President Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan and members of the POA medical commission for organising this seminar for their awareness. POA Secretary General Muhammad Khalid Mahmood and POA Medical Commission Chairman Dr Waqar Ahmad applauded the interest of the audience and appreciated the interaction between the speakers and the participating athletes. Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Deputy Director General Azam Dar commended the efforts of the National Olympic Committee Pakistan for sports and assured that the PSB would do its utmost to elevate the standard of national sports in collaboration with the POA.Arif Hasan and the Olympic family of Pakistan expressed their gratitude to the IOC President Thomas Bach and OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah Al Fahad, who is also Chair of the Olympic Solidarity Commission, for supporting the conduct of seminar and for the continuous support they had been extended for the promotion of the Olympic Movement in Pakistan. POA Chief Arif Hasan, during his talk with media, said that there was no serious chance of the country’s sportsperson winning medals in the upcoming Jakarta Asian Games. “Without focusing on the grassroots level, the standards of sports in the country could not be improved,” he maintained. The POA President said that a total 358-member contingent would participate in the Asian Games. He revealed that the PSB would finance 245 members of the contingent while the remaining 113 members competing in sports, not affiliated with the PSB including football, bridge, etc, would bear their own expenses. Syed Arif further said that POA would extend financial support to two talented judokas to ensure their participation in the Asiad. Syed Arif said that may be in some discipline Pakistan athletes could win medals, but one-month training was insufficient to compete in a mega event such as the Asian Games. “In other countries, athletes prepare and train throughout the year for such big events and produce impressive results,” he added.The 18th edition of Asian Games is going to be held in Indonesia from August 18 to Sept 2. Realistically, Pakistan only have an outside chance of winning a medal, if any. The national hockey team have not been doing well in recent months and is no medal hope but in sports such as kabbadi, athletics, wushu, weightlifting and wrestling, Pakistan players could spring a surprise and fetch a medal or two. In last edition of Asian Games, which was held in South Korea in 2014, Pakistan won five medals. The only gold was won by the women’s cricket team. However, this time round, women’s cricket is not part of the Asiad. Other medals were clinched by Pakistan hockey team, who had won a silver, while one bronze medal each was won in kabbadi, wushu and boxing. The POA President emphasised the need to focus on sports at the grassroots level, especially in schools and colleges. “That will groom our athletes from an early age.” To a query regarding expectations from Imran Khan’s government in sports arena, Syed Arif said that he since Imran himself had been an outstanding sportsman and fast bowler, he could bring change in country’s sport sector with his vision and support. He said the POA leadership would request him for a meeting to discuss the sports scenario. “Imran’s vision of a healthy society and diplomacy can easily be achieved through sports,” said Arif and added that by investing in sports sector a healthy society can be created while sportsmen could be the best diplomats. The PAO President expressed best wishes for the Pakistan contingent, advising them to be very careful about their diet and medication. He directed the athletes to strictly follow guidelines of IOC, POA and anti doping agencies.Published in Daily Times, August 6th 2018.